Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Analogies in Science

  • Richard Coll
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_184-2


Analog; Analogies; Scientists; Target

Analogies help scientists and everyday people make sense of the natural phenomena that surround them. We have an everyday object, event, or story that is well understood – this is called an analog, and a science concept to which it is compared called the target. Links – called mappings – are then made between the analog and the target. Mappings can be positive, ways in which the target is like the analog; negative, ways in which the target is not like the analog; and neutral, when it is not clear whether the target is or is not like the analog.

A visualization of mapping by Duit ( 1991) shows there may be identical features in parts of the analog (R1) and target (R2); the model (Rm) then represents similarity – with analogy (A) representing the relation between analog and target (Fig. 1).


Solar System Natural Phenomenon Science Concept Science Learn Identical Feature 
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  1. Duit R (1991) On the role of metaphors and analogies in learning science. Sci Educ 75(6):649–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vice-Chancellor’s OfficeThe University of FijiSaweniFiji Islands